Interview: A M I D A

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54-46’s interview with Manchester band A M I D A below…

How is the band doing? Everything Okay? Anything in the pipeline?

Hello, yes we’re doing very well, thanks. We’re just gearing up to record some new songs for 2015.

 

Describe your musical backgrounds and how you have got to where you are now.

I think we each have a different idea of the band we’re in, a different vision of the band we want to be in, but no one’s vision is winning. Thankfully.

 

For those yet to experience Amida, how would you best describe what you do?

To avoid the gruelling awkwardness of description, we would just direct people to our Spotify

Link Here: Amida – Boring Birth … or Bandcamp page (amidamusic.bandcamp.com).

 

Can you please explain your name?

I’ve been trying to figure it out myself. You are free to interpret.

 

Best gig you’ve ever done?

We always adore playing in Leeds, so it would probably be one of the shows we’ve done there.

 

Favourite venue?

For me, the Deaf Institute in Manchester.

 

 Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

A lot of the usual suspects, then a lot of other stuff that would sound pretty unconvincing if we listed them.

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

I think a female vocal could be really nice in the mix. The music needs a woman’s touch.

 

Favourite bands of 2014?

MONEY, and FKA twigs.

 

 Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

I’m all about streaming.

 

If you made a 5 song mix tape to impress a lover, what would you put on it? 

1. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing

2. Chet Baker – There Will Never Be Another You

3. Depeche Mode – Slowblow (Darren Price Remix)

4. Al Green – Schooldays

5. Glass Candy – Etheric Device

 

Thank you very much for your time!

Interview: The Volts

54-42 caught up with the Volts literally during the lead guitarists lunch break. The Widnes 4 piece have been making waves with their impressive tunes and energetic live performances. We talked live sets, influences and the challenges facing new bands in the modern music industry..

 

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Can you introduce us to the band…

Well, we are The Volts. We’re Rory (Vocals), Chris (Guitar), Ric (Bass) and Jay (Drums).

How did you meet?

Jay and Chris met first. Jay used to run a music shop in their local town and was Chris’ go to man for guitar strings, so we have Ernie Ball to thank for helping their relationship to blossom. They decided to set up a purely original band since they were both in covers bands at the time and wanted to have a bash at writing their own stuff. Then they recruited Ric and Rory from www.joinmyband.co.uk which is a kind of dating service for musicians, ‘drummer and guitarist seek talented male vocalist and bass player for long walks on the beach and picnics’. The rest is history.

 

For those who haven’t heard your tunes before – how can you sum up ‘The Volt’s experience’..?

If you’ve not seen or heard us live, it’s an energetic, spine tingling, foot tapping musical extravaganza, but don’t take our word for it, come on down to a gig and let us convince you!

 

Describe your musical journey to where you are now.

We started out about 12 months ago and without Rory as it took us a bit of a while to find the right singer so we (Jay, Ric & Chris) were meeting up a couple of times a week and jamming some original ideas and by the time we found Rory we had our first song ready to go (musically that is). He came straight in, stuck a melody and lyrics to it and bang, Red Light our first song was born. Still one of our best songs in our opinion, it has a real funky INXS feel to it and it always seems to get a good response from the crowd. Since then we have progressed in much the same way using the same formula to produce the songs that we have written since.

 

Who are your biggest influences?

 Our mums and dads (joke). To be honest it’s a real mixed bag in terms of which bands we all listen to and take inspiration from; Rory has THE most varied taste in music of anyone on the planet, he can listen to some guy called Drake? right through to Killswitch Engage. Jay is similar, he likes pop music, disco music, classic rock music so your talking Britney Spears, Nile Rogers, & Queen (Britney Spears being his most favourite). Ric likes rock music as does Chris; Queens of the Stone Age, Stereophonics, Royal Blood, classic stuff like Foreigner, Whitesnake, AC/DC etc, and we all weave in and out of each-others likes as well.

 

Current EP/Album Plans on the Horizon?

Very much so! We are going into the studio to record our debut EP imminently. We have the songs all ready to go it’s just a case of getting into the studio and getting the tracks down and produced. We will be releasing the EP early in the new year and we can’t wait!

 

What sort of themes do your songs cover?

They cover quite an array actually, anything from being in a band and the stresses of the opposite sex to social networking and the effect it has had on the world and even one about suicide.. We take inspiration from things that have happened or are happening to us in our lives as well as things that are going on in the world, whether on the news or in the paper that strike a chord with us. Or we can take a simple idea and write a story about it, for example, Rory found himself in an old disused WW2 airbase local to us recently and there was a noose hanging from the rafters that got us thinking what was that about, who put it there etc and we wrote a fictional story about it which became a song; Random we know.

 

Are you currently facing any difficulties as a band?

 Not really, were pretty new on the scene and were just happily beavering away constantly writing and doing as many gigs as we can. If anything were in a really exciting and promising place. We have made some great contacts just this past week and we have played some fantastic gigs with more to look forward to and most pleasing of all is the reaction from impartial audiences that we have been receiving. Our music seems to be going down really well and we have had some lovely feedback from various people which is really nice and also really encouraging for us.

 

What are the main challenges facing the modern band?

 Tough one! It’s certainly an uphill struggle if your goal is to become signed and make it to the big time as it always has been but these days it seems labels don’t take the risks that they used to, not many people get a three album deal anymore, it seems to be you get a deal for a single and if that single doesn’t go top ten, your down the road. It’s a shame really there doesn’t seem to be much investment in bands by a label with some time allowed to develop. Our philosophy is a simple one, keep doing what we’re doing, which is writing and performing our songs to as many people as possible at as many venues around the country as we can , enjoying the shit out of it along the way and if we do make it to where we would love to be, then it’s a bonus! If not, our gigs give us plenty of excuses for a drinking session (not that we need one).

 

Your thoughts on the rise of social media & websites to spread – do you think this has made it easier to get exposure – or has the market been saturated?

 May we refer you to a song we wrote called Digital Coma. This song was inspired by how Chris feels about social media in general which is that it’s completely anti-social. Whether you’re in the pub with your friends, at a bus stop waiting for the number 14, in a queue at the post office, have you noticed how 99% of everyone in that situation is on their smart phone ‘social networking’ rather than talking to strangers and making conversation, the opposite seems to happen and this is what inspired that song. (Purely the opinion of Chris by the way but an example of how one of our songs comes about).

 

To answer your question though, social networking in our opinion is a complete necessity nowadays if you’re going to get your music known. It’s also an indicator to management and record labels, we think, of how much of a following you have as a band, based on how many people are following you online and it also provides  a networking platform for bands to help each-other out by sharing the pages of bands you have supported etc. This is irrelevant to some bands though, we have come across some that shut themselves off in a kind of ‘we are awesome and everyone else is crap so we won’t like or share them and we won’t have them gigging with us’ kind of way (ironically the bands that have been like this are not usually very good in our limited experience) and to us that doesn’t do you any favours because other bands see that and just won’t help you out if they get the chance to. It’s all about getting out gigging, meeting new people, making contacts and making friends. You all share a mutual love at the end of the day so why be bitter against the success or pleased with the failures of the other guys doing the same thing as you. But the only way to get it done is to constantly be in the public eye, therefore we ensure that we post as often as possible. 


If you had to make a 3 track tape to impress a lover… what tracks would you pick?

Surely Barry White would have to be in there somewhere so ‘Can’t get enough of your love babe’. Follow that up with some good old Foreigner ‘I wanna know what love is’ and then to really reinforce the tender and sincere message your trying to portray to the special lady ‘Wutang Clan – Gravel Pit’. What girl could resist such a combination?

How would you define success for The Volts?

Every single genuine fan that we pick up from a live gig is a success to us but ultimately the aim is to make it to the top and write and play our music for a living. Not many people can say they genuinely love what they do and to be in the position one day where we could say that would be brilliant and that’s where we want to get to. 

 

What do you think about the current scene? How are you finding it?

 We’re enjoying it, we have been getting about a lot playing in Manchester, Liverpool even as far as South Wales and we have gigs pencilled in that take us on the road again next year when we hit Birmingham. So yeah we are really enjoying getting out and about and taking our music on the road, it’s the best way to get exposure, social media alone isn’t enough because your only telling half the story, especially in our case as we are a live band and that’s when we are at our best, it’s pretty hard to replicate that in a studio. Collectively have met some great bands as well, lots of top lads that we’ve had a ball with!

You can find us on our main website: www.thevoltsofficial.co.uk.

or alternatively you can also find The Volts on our other social media sites:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thevoltsofficial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thevoltsmusic

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thevoltsofficial

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thevoltsofficial/videos 

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/thevoltsofficial

Get Following!

Interview: Totem Terrors

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54- 46 caught up with Max Hicks, bassist for Totem Terrors… Talking South Wales music scene, mix tape songs for lovers and his own musical influences.

 

 

How is the band doing? Everything Okay? Anything in the pipeline?

 

The band’s going great. We’ve been playing a bunch of shows lately, and we’re planning to record our second album in the next few weeks. It’s due out in Spring 2015.

 

 

Describe your musical backgrounds and how you have got to where you are now.

 

We’ve both been in bands since we were 16 or so, though we hadn’t met until I started this one. I started out as a ‘singer’ that was too scared to sing, then I switched to bass because nobody played bass and one of my sister’s friends was a bass player. He was a cool guy – he was older and respected among the youths of our community. He looked out for me a few times when I was being given a hard time for skateboarding, and I looked up to him, so it made sense I’d end up playing bass like he did. After a while, I got a chance to sing in a band – this time I wasn’t scared – and soon after that I played regular guitar whilst singing. Fast forward a couple of bands, and I found myself drawn back to bass, which is where I am now – and I still sing.

Rosie is a really good piano player on the quiet – that’s how she started – but she’s also been playing classical guitar since she was a kid. She joined this band as a drummer first. After a while, our first guitar player left, so Rosie switched to guitar, and that’s the way things have stayed.

 

 

For those yet to experience Totem Terrors, how would you best describe what you do?

 

Well, we’re an ‘indie rock’ band with our roots in post-punk, although we’ve progressed beyond that niche. We’re a two-piece – I play bass and sing, Rosie plays guitar and sings – but we use a drum machine, so we’re functionally a three.

 

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Best gig you’ve ever done?

 

Hard to say. Probably when we played IndieTracks festival in summer 2014. It’s a small indie festival based in an old railway station. We got to play in the station church, which is like a 1940’s Southern American tin shack type of affair. It was a great show – we played well, and we had a full house. Watching all those guys sitting on the pews was neat. And it was a Sunday – our own Sunday service!

 

 

How would you rate the health of the current South Wales music scene? 

 

It’s really good for up-and-coming bands, but the lack of an independent mid-sized venue in Cardiff is hurting the scene. No mid-size venue means no middle-weight bands playing Cardiff on their tours. That means less support opportunities for locals bands, less industry presence and less buzz in general. Touring bands come as far as Bristol, so Bristol gets all the action whilst Cardiff starves. It’s a shame, because at the street level there are dozens of amazing bands here (I appreciate Cardiff isn’t all of South Wales, but it is the capital and in my experience the majority of bands from other parts of Wales eventually end up here, at least for a little while).

 

 

 

 

Favourite venue?

 

I don’t really have one. I’m fond of certain places – Roll For The Soul in Bristol, or Brixton Windmill for example – but from a playing stand-point, there’s nowhere that’s obviously better than anywhere else. From a watching stand-point, I like non-standard venues. Theatres, churches, boats, that kind of thing. I think it keeps a well-worn idea (i.e. playing live gigs) fresh.

 

 

Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

 

There’d be such a list! Plus, a lot of the time, your favourite bands aren’t necessarily the ones that have influenced you, only you might not realise that. Off the top of my head, I’d say PiL, Wire, Pixies, Talking Heads, Thee Oh Sees, Big Black, Pere Ubu. Rosie has a completely different list, needless to say.

 

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

 

Well, a drummer is the obvious. We originally had a human drummer to go with the drum machine, so we’d get that double-drummers thing but with a small difference. After Rosie switched to guitar, we couldn’t find a permanent drummer, and we eventually settled as a two-piece. Outside of that, I’d go for a Martin Swope / Brian Eno sound and tape manipulator type of person, or a Bob Nastanovich percussionist / general mayhem generator. Fun people.

 

 

Favourite band of 2014?

 

Trust Fund. Or Nehruvian Doom, if that counts as a band.

 

 

Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

 

Vinyl always.

 

 

If you made a 5 song mix tape to impress a lover, what would you put on it? 

 

I’d write her five songs and put those on there*. Either that or just put ‘Love Serenade’ by Barry White five times in a row because it’s hilarious. And sexy.

 

 

Favourite musical decade?

 

I think of decades in terms of ‘x5-‘x5, because I think it’s more accurate, at least stylistically. In which case mine would be ’75-’85.

 

 

Outside of Music, what are your passions?

 

Football, though I hate it sometimes. Writing. Skateboard art. Shoes. Girls. Can I say girls?

 

 

* I totally wouldn’t but the idea’s pretty good, right? (Very romantic – Thom)

 

 

TB

 

 

You can catch everything Totem Terrors Here:

 

www.totemterrors.com

www.facebook.com/totemterrors

www.twitter.com/totemterrors

totemterrors.bandcamp.com

www.soundcloud.com/totemterrors